The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is becoming a real headache for football's governing body. The host’s questionable human rights record has been thrust into the spotlight right on the eve of the world's biggest sporting competition, and all efforts to sweep it under the rug only invite more condemnation.
One of the recent major controversies surrounds the use of the rainbow-colored "One Love" armband. Bayern Munich and Germany keeper Manuel Neuer has confirmed that he will be wearing the armband in support of the LGBT community during the World Cup, regardless of what FIFA thinks or says. Denmark captain Christian Eriksen is another major player who will be donning the armband during the tournament.
FIFA tried to sidestep the issue by introducing their own “inclusive” armband for teams to wear during the World Cup, but failed to actually produce anything worthwhile. While teams have not been “authorized” to wear the One Love armband in the tournament, Neuer seems ready to accept whatever financial penalty FIFA might impose. After all, they can’t exactly eject him from the World Cup, right? That would cause the whole thing to implode.
Qatar’s regressive stance on LGBTQ issues has been one of the major criticisms of human rights groups and activists leading into the 2022 World Cup. Neuer, who has often worn the rainbow armband for both Bayern Munich and Germany in the past, has taken a positive step to show solidarity with these groups by choosing defy FIFA and Qatar’s wishes. Any Bayern fan interested in inclusivity and togetherness should support the gesture wholeheartedly.
According to Bild, Manuel Neuer faces the prospect of being sanctioned by FIFA if he goes ahead with wearing the One Love armband.
The DFB are concerned Manuel Neuer could face consequences of the decision to wear the One Love armband. Neuer could face not only a fine, but also a possible yellow card before the Japan game for breaching FIFA's equipment statutes. The matter is discussed internally [@BILD] pic.twitter.com/XPlIx0hk4U— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) November 20, 2022
If this goes through, then you know that the protests around the World Cup will only get louder.
Guess it was too good to be true. FIFA wins this round.
England, Wales, Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands have released a joint statement saying their captains won't wear the 'one love' armband.— DW Sports (@dw_sports) November 21, 2022
"We can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings." pic.twitter.com/8dBzwajbrc
If you want a perspective on why this could have been a solid gesture for Neuer to make, maybe check out the latest episode of our podcast? We also talk about Germany’s impending issues at the World Cup and Thomas Muller’s legacy. Listen to it below or on Spotify.